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Marlborough Research & Ministry of Science delegation to US

19 June 2012

Marlborough Research Centre partners with Ministry of Science and Innovation on trade mission to US

The quest to introduce more international scientific capacity into New Zealand, and notably Marlborough, will be advanced by a delegation heading to the United States this week to visit an independent research institute with a global clientele.

The reciprocal mission to North Carolina has been initiated and funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and brought together by the Marlborough Research Centre, following a business development mission to New Zealand by representatives of the US Research Triangle Institute (RTI) earlier this year.

RTI is involved in a broad sweep of research projects ranging from health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, advanced technology, forensics, energy and environmental projects, economic and social policy and chemical analysis, for government and corporate clients in more than 40 countries.

The US Institute is seeking collaborative research partnerships, joint IP development opportunities, and commercial partnerships and, in the long term, it has indicated interest in a greater presence in our region.

Working in conjunction with the New Zealand Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Marlborough Research Centre is coordinating the return visit to build on the initial contact and explore future working relationships.

Marlborough-based economic anthropologist Amanda Lynn will provide advisory services to the mission, which will be led by Ministry of Science and Innovation officials Lesley McConnell, the Ministry’s US-based counsellor, and Hamish Findlay, Senior Commercialisation Manager. The Marlborough Research Centre’s chief executive Gerald Hope will also be a key member of the delegation.

More than a dozen research representatives from the New Zealand government, Crown Research Institutes, universities and the private sector will be part of the delegation, including Marlborough-based Plant & Food senior scientist Mike Trought.

Mr Hope says the business development mission will provide New Zealand with the chance to demonstrate the depth of expertise and innovative technologies that exist here.

The visit will also give RTI the opportunity to explain how its partnerships work and present some case studies on its approach to commercialising successful research.

“Ultimately we hope to draw RTI toward long term collaborations with our companies and research institutions. The depth and complexity of RTI’s current activities is of a scale far beyond anything in this part of the world and a relationship could open doors in many directions for New Zealand and for Marlborough,” said Mr Hope.

RTI already operates in 40 countries around the world from the UK, Scandinavia, India, China, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr Hope says while RTI’s research and commercial interests are broad, their representatives have indicated particular interest in:

• Forensics research, lab certification and training programmes
• Natural products and associated health claims
• Thermophiles and extremephiles
• Bioproducts and renewable energy, particularly biofuels
• Global health – communicable and non-communicable diseases
• Personalised medicine - the “Human on a chip”, toolboxes
• Pre-clinical trials
• Health IT
• Cancer and metabolic diseases research
• “Chemical whispering” in toxicology and environmental aerosol monitoring
• Nanoparticles in toxicology, nanoparticle transport and immunological response, and use in drug delivery
• Sustainable agriculture and environmental impact, particularly concerning the wine industry.

The mission will leave New Zealand this week.

Non-government Group Leader (Amanda Lynn, Associate, MRC)
Ministry of Science and Innovation (Lesley McConnell, US-based Counsellor S&I and Hamish Findlay, Senior Commercialisation Manager)
Marlborough Research Centre (Gerald Hope, Chief Executive)
Plant & Food Research (Dr Mike Trought, Senior Scientist)
CarbonScape (Greg Conner,Chief Technical Officer)
Environmental Science & Research (Dr Paul Fitzmaurice, Food Chemistry & Toxicology)
Industrial Research Limited (Richard Lauricella, Business Development Manager, USA)
Riddet Institute (Mark Ward, General Manager)
University of Auckland/AgResearch (Dr Shaun Lott, Senior Lecturer)
Victoria University of Wellington(Dr Anne La Flamme, Associate Professor)
University of Otago (Steve Kerr, Associate Professor)
KODE Biotech Limited (Steven Henry, Chief Executive/Chief Scientist)
Cawthron Institute (Daryl Wehner, Chief Financial Officer)
Grow Wellington (Adrian Gregory, GM Science & Technology)

ENDS

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